Western and English Riding Instruction
and Hippology, the study of horses

Instructors:  Barbara and Joseph Kostelnik
Assistant: J. Solomon Kostelnik

Working with horses develops many personal qualities that last a lifetime:
self-confidence -- responsibility -- kindness -- fitness --
 physical and emotional wellness --- plus, it's so much fun!
(This site was created and is being maintained using MS FrontPage. 
That program is no longer supported by MS nor our web service provider,
so it's challenge trying to keep everything properly working...)



In Loving Memory of

Amir Halam 


"Prince of Sweetness"

14.3 H, 1980 Arabian chestnut gelding  -- AHRA # 0202872

Click here for his pedigree
(Polish, Crabbet, CMK, Lewisfield)

Born March 24, 1980, his registered name was
Amir Halam, which, I'm
told, is Arabic for
"Prince of Sweetness".
And yes, he was, right up
until his death, on
November 25, 2011.

amir_sorrel.jpg (77355 bytes)He was registered as a "chestnut", which is exactly what he was... and a fine example of one, visually. Some people might call him a sorrel, because his legs got lighter as they went down, and he had other lighter areas, in the pattern known as "pangare" or "mealy" (like a mule or donkey) (see photo inset, right), especially in winter.

He sometimes had a strange rainbow iridescence on his coat, especially during the summer ... almost like an Akhal-Teke ... or a fish!

He had an unalterable freeze-brand, with his breed (pure Arabian), year of birth, and registration number on his neck, under his mane.  So no one could have successfully stolen him!

He was trained English and Western pleasure. He COULD jump, but he hated to!  So, he seldom was asked to, and even then, only obstacles about a foot high.  He did dressage moves on cue, though he was never trained in that!

His sire was Lo Khan, the Region 14 English Pleasure Champion twice in the late seventies. His dam was Chansonette, daughter of Lewisfield Fleur, daughter of Lewisfield Sun God, who, then, was his great-grandsire.

Thank you for selling him to me, Dorcas!  It was a WONDERFUL RIDE!

Newest information and pictures are at bottom.

Barb describes the beginning of their history together: "Around 1988, after not having ridden for about 10 years, I thought I was over the 'horse fever' I'd had since birth. Then some friends invited me to see their (dressage) show horses, and soon they rescued a Thorough-bred race horse (they'd said he was going to be mine at first!), with whom I gradually began to visit and work on a regular basis. Later, I became so attached to him that I just 'had to have him' -- and then they sold him to a friend of theirs! I was devastated, but my dear husband and mother convinced me to try to find a replacement.

"In the spring of 1990, I had a special $500 of my own, and had found a stable near me where partial care board was only $50 mo. I got an additional job at a local bakery to pay for the board, and the supplies I was going to need, and began to look for the 'right' horse...but without much hope, due to my financial situation.

"Fast forward to November 17th, 1990, at 4 p.m., when I took possession of a purebred Arabian gelding worth much more, whose seller said she wanted him to have a good home more than she wanted a lot of money!"

myboys.jpg (56756 bytes)Here are my husband, Joe, and son, Solomon, getting acquainted with my new horse, probably in early 1991, at his first home (with me) on Diehl Rd.. They were not yet "horse people". I love the way this picture shows his nice level croup.  He's trying to convince Solomon to give him a treat (see Amir's top lip?)

Here's Barb riding Amir over a tiny jump at Harvest Home Fair's horse show around 1992 or so. He didn't win anything, but at least he did the course ... first time he'd ever jumped anything but the cavaletti where we were THEN boarding, at the intersection of Blue Rock Rd. and East Miami River Rd., and an occasional fallen tree during trail rides. These show jumps were only 18" high.

Spring 1999

White Oak Chapel "Kids' Riding Day"

These pictures are at the FORMER farm where we then boarded Amir. We have so many happy memories of that place and of the dear family that lived there.  We moved him from there in August of 1999. The farm has since been broken up and sold <sigh>. There were many other children there, but we only got a few of the pictures online, sorry.

(Click thumbnails to see these pictures larger)

amir1.jpg (90116 bytes)

Pastor Barb leads "Amir the Wonder Horse" (so dubbed by another church member), with Leigh Anne, age 3, on board, while her mom, Linda, "side-walks". Notice how Amir's attention (ears) is on his little passenger. He was always very careful with "young 'uns".

amir2.jpg (64662 bytes)This young lady, Amber, took lessons on Amir, a year after this picture was taken. She wore a helmet then, and the stirrups fit her. She hoped to show at Harvest Home Fair in Sept. 2000, but her mother, shown below, met with a tragic sudden death, and her father didn't bring her.

amir3.jpg (49060 bytes)Amber's (tragically, now deceased) mom, Nina, riding in front of her younger daughter, Hannah. Led by Barb so that Nina can hold Hannah on (only Hannah's right leg & right hand are visible, but she's there.)

amir4.jpg (40569 bytes)Mom (Nina) got a chance to ride all alone! She was a horse lover. Though he was still very much a hot-blooded Arabian at age 19, Amir could be trusted with beginners in an arena, if the rider followed directions. Nina did. But if a show-off got on, Amir was not so co-operative!

Thanks to my son for scanning those pictures for me when I didn't have a working scanner!

In June of 1999 we moved Amir to his new home, only 2 miles from our house.
Then, with Bill still at his previous home, Joe needed a horse to ride with me,
so he got Doc about August 30, 1999.
(Bill, the previous barn-owner's horse, that Joe had been riding for the past 8 years, was not for sale then -- we asked!)

A few months after Joe had broken down and gotten another horse (Doc),
good old Bill was finally offered to us, and at a "rescue" price,
so we took him. We owed him a decent retirement!

March 2000

March2000-5.jpg (99894 bytes)

Here is Joe hugging Amir after a brief ride while Doc (Docs Dewin Time, 2 1/2 years old then, AQHA), in the pasture at right, wonders why HE isn't out "on the trail" with the "big boys". I was on Bill, taking the picture.

March2000-1.jpg (113555 bytes)

Amir Halam in March 2000, at 20 years old, is on the left here, with then-24 year old AQHA Billies Bay Spirit (Bill, or Bailey) in the background, at their "new home". With both horses wearing their winter woolies, and a bit of extra fat for those cold nights, Amir looks awfully chunky for the purebred Arabian he was. The telephoto lens isn't helping, either. 

At left, Joe fills the water buckets, a regular chore before we got smart and started using a hose, and electrically heated buckets.

This, and most of the pictures directly below,
are from my brother's family's visit in March 2000.

Amir looks scraggly in these, because he's starting to lose his well-worn winter coat:

amir_run.jpg (67557 bytes)I lead my nephew on Amir amir_not_lunge.jpg (74758 bytes)I'm not really longeing, and this is certainly not a lesson! frizz-barb-amir.jpg (69014 bytes)Amir in scruffy end-of-
winter coat; sisters-in-law

H13.jpg (83806 bytes)Nephew and mom brush Amir

amir_sorrel.jpg (77355 bytes)Joe cleans Amir's feet; see how much lighter his lower legs are then the rest!


barb_matt_amir.jpg (65268 bytes)My nephew's ride on Amir continues

joe-amir2.jpg (68987 bytes)Joe has a brisk trot on Amir

joe-amir1.jpg (45109 bytes)Another time around


May 2000

Image3.jpg (70546 bytes)

Amir having a hay snack. He'd just had a bath and really came out bright and shining, though he has clumps of winter coat, still, in places.

Image4.jpg (69950 bytes)

This captures part of Amir's personality.

Image5.jpg (43893 bytes)

I like it when he reminds me of his great-grandsire, Lewisfield Sun God; usually after a summer bath.


July 2006

Amir was sometimes ridden in just a halter and double-ended lead rope.  At left, his head is being held up, briefly, for the photo.

On July 16, 2006, he was an attraction at our church picnic. You can see his "servant nature" by the fact that most of the pics are focusing on the people/children enjoying him, and not on him.


The next day one of my riding students' dads tried having a ride. He came away with new respect for his daughter's ability and courage! (I used to leave it up to adults whether they or their children wore a helmet.)

A little over a week later, Solomon invited a friend and her son to sit on Amir.

August 2006

In 2006, the month of August was all about getting ready for the Harvest Home Fair Horse Show. Here, my youngest student and Amir get a very early fitting for their costumes for the Costume Class. This was a very rough approximation of their eventual outfits, which I was making with my new sewing machine, which I've hardly used since! (Most of the finished version is shown in this smaller thumbnail, from the show, at right.) I never did get a decent picture of the finished "bridle" that I made for Amir.

The other students' preparations consisted of regular riding lessons and occasional actual barrel and pole runs. We keep those to a minimum so as not to wear out, injure, or sour Amir. Thanks to the Tensings for letting us set up our barrels in their upper, level field, and also for the cones to use to practice pole bending. And remember, we don't use spurs, whips, tie downs or curb bits... and yet still win ribbons!

September 2006 -- just day(s) before the show --

My longest-standing student and Amir, a day or two before the show. Sorry, I couldn't choose just one. When you click them, you'll see why. As usual, click these to see them full size.

Next 5 pics: Amir and some of "his adoring fans", after his pre-show bath, the (last practice) day before the show. They're 3 of my 5 riding students who were about to show him the next day. Some of these are kind of "big" when you click them, so that the girls can each see themselves better when they visit this page.

Sept. 2006 -- at Harvest Home Fair Horse Show

All 5 riders at the show with Amir, just before costume class.

Next 4 pictures: the youngest student that year and Amir, before and during the costume class. What a shame, I don't have any close-ups of his cool satin-ribbon-and-metallic-gold-rope halter ... I put it on at the last minute, to minimize the possibility of its breaking. You can see it a tiny bit in this student's mom's hand in picture #4 below:

She got a blue ribbon.

These two pics: another student about to enter the show arena for the catalog race. They race to a barrel with a catalog in it, cut out exactly what they were asked to, circle the barrel, and race back to the starting gate with the cut-out. She lost control temporarily, but hung in there and saw it through without falling off or being disqualified! Brave girl!    

Next two pictures, my longest-term, most serious and accomplished previous student, with her barrel racing and pole bending ribbons. The man in the show ring with her, at left, is the official show photographer. Amir looks tired in that last photo, but he was done then, don't worry.

Next, 3 pics from after the show: Joe & the above girl's family (great helpers!) pack us up at twilight as 1. other fairgoers wander through with their balloons; 2. She's still sitting on Amir as he wanders around, eating grass and relaxing; 3. her older sister and friends hang around as Joe gets all blurry.


July 3, 2010

We trimmed his toes right after this!

NOVEMBER 17, 2010 -- I've had Amir for 20 years today. He looks better than he has in years. He's in good condition and weight, and even his winter coat looks great. He's on 1 ml of pergolide every day (for Cushing's syndrome, which I think he's had, to some degree, since I got him), and on a better diet (no more cheap "sweet feed", just real mixed grain, alfalfa cubes, a vitamins-hooves-coat-&-joints supplement, and all the hay he can eat.)

DECEMBER 5, 2010

Solomon and I attempted a ride during a snowstorm. Amir danced and jigged more than he had since I'd known him. This is a still from the video I took that day, linked below, I hope.

  Try these links for the video:   Movie A  --  Movie_B


Christmas Eve Day, 2010

All three of us went out for a ride in the snow on all three horses. That was a great ride, except for some slippery-snow problems that Joe & Doc each had. Solomon was riding Sugar, and taking these pictures for us, so, sadly, he's not in any of them.


Early May 2011

Amir's hanging-on-too-long winter coat was stinky and matted, and he seemed to have rain rot or something like it in several small spots on his skin; less energy than usual, though that may have been due to the sudden heat and humidity (as was the skin trouble); was maybe losing a bit of weight since we went back to one feeding a day (due to grass growth in the pasture.)  We put him back on two feedings per day, and I treated the skin problems as below:

May 12, 2011

Just before the bath -- it was warm enough to use the hose on just the top of his back, where he seemed to have the worst skin/coat issues, with a special shampoo I got him for this very reason last year. He also had his feet trimmed a week later. (The shampoo made a HUGE difference in the skin on his back.)  You can see he was still pretty fuzzy... a sign that the Cushing's has not been completely defeated, despite his having been on pergolide for many years; but he's doing much better than he was before it.

May 26, 2011

He was already looking splendid in his mostly new shiny summer coat. I would have gotten some pics if it had stopped raining long enough! And when an old friend came over and rode him a bit last week, he started getting that old fire back... that is, if you canter him a bit, he starts wanting to race! But he was still a good boy, and obeyed his rider.

July 2011

He had dropped a lot of weight in June, and we're not sure why; maybe he wasn't eating enough hay again, maybe it's the flies (worst they've been in years, even biting us humans through our clothing at times), or maybe his teeth need attention... or maybe it's a Cushing's flare-up or some other, old-age problem.  We've upped his feed, and are being extra-careful that he gets every drop of the supplements and medication he needs every day.  Although his energy has increased, his ribs are still showing a little.  We started getting Sugar ready to take over some of his "work"; she's also learning to give lessons WITH Amir, both in the round pen together.

AUGUST 2011 (including late July)

Amir is now giving a few lessons a week.  We're only using him at a walk, for part of an hour, once every few days.  He seems to even be improving from the light exercise and extra attention.  He's gotten a lot more interested in being cuddled, gently brushed, etc., in his old age.  Still a perfect gentleman, obedient and respectful, and still has a perfect record of not having bitten or even kicked at any human in the 20+ years we've had him!  Click these pictures from late July 2011 to see larger versions:

In late July 2011, we held our first lessons of the year.  Here a new student has her first lesson, which includes checking hooves for stones before a ride.  Thanks to her mom for the pictures!
Solomon about to lead her around; at first both students rode with no reins, and hadn't yet had her foot position corrected.  Barbara was leading this girl's friend, on the other lesson horse, Sugar.
In this picture, Barbara is adjusting the young lady's foot in her stirrup during her first ride.
The same young lady (the only one who rode Amir that day) being led, now without using the stirrups.

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CONTACT INFO: you may EMAIL or PHONE Barbara at 513-385-6735 (or text at 513-356-2817)
The stable is on Blue Rock Road, which is named after Blue Rock Creek,
replete with slate and shale, which is more or less ... "Blue"!